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Video Game / Blank Dream

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"Thinking back, it was a boring life..."

Blank Dream is a freeware horror game made by Kanawo of Teriyaki Tomato. A girl named Mishiro Usui commits suicide by drowning herself in a lake, wishing that she had never existed at all before she jumps in. This lands her in another realm known as the Mirror World, where people with a strong wish are sent after they die. Mishiro is told that in order to grant her wish, she must locate all the mirrors containing her reflection and break them. Along the way, she meets Yuzu Hanasaki and Ryotaro Sengoku, two souls also trapped in the same realm.

The game was translated from Japanese into English by vgperson.

Followed by Blight Dream.

Blank Dream contains examples of:

  • Arc Words: Mishiro's speech at the start of the game.
  • Antagonist Title: The Japanese title is both this and a Protagonist Title. It consists of two kanji- one of them is Mishiro, the Player Character's name, but the other is Utsuro, the Big Bad's name.
  • Art Shift: Certain mirrors are presented like Visual Novels, with character portraits appearing over drawn backgrounds instead of the game's usual RPG format. This is done to emphasize that these memories don't belong to Mishiro, but to the other characters.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The terrifying-sounding Realm of Blood is actually a short level with no real danger (unless you trigger the bad ending).
  • Big Bad: Utsuro Hinohara is the creator of the Mirror World and aims to kill Mishiro to gain back control of it.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The story centers around this-it turns out that almost Everyone Is Related through Rinzou (exception being Yuzu), and incest, abuse, and murder abound in this fractured family.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The endings where Mishiro gives up on her wish, and returns to life count as this. Though she survives, she still loses all of the memories, connected to the mirrors she broke. Ayato and the others are still dead, her life hasn't been magically fixed... But she's able to move forward and live, all the same. It's also a beautiful case of Earn Your Happy Ending, with the text epilogue, Mishiro ends up becoming a painter with her own style from her grandfather's, and the most known one being based off of the Mirror World.
  • Breakable Weapons: Mishiro breaks an axe after only three uses.
  • Bury Your Gays: Yuzu, the only explicitly gay character in the game, commits suicide to be with Utsuro, the girl she is in love with.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • Right at the start, when Mishiro's reflection tells her to look deeply into her eyes, you can try to refuse, but the mirror will show her the memory anyway.
    "Who said you can look away?"
    • If you're on the path for the Normal End, even though you're given two choices, both options force you to kill Ayato. Lampshaded by Mishiro, who immediately states that "There's no choice..."
  • Cessation of Existence: Mishiro and Utsuro's dying wish, since both were tired of their lives.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In the Realm of Beauty, you encounter a shadow resembling a little girl, who chases you down if it spots you. At this point, it seems like just another enemy. But it continues to stalk you in the Realm of Spirits and the Realm of Death, and is later revealed as the broken spirit of Utsuro- and the Big Bad responsible for the Mirror World's creation. Utsuro herself is introduced as a side character within Yuzu's memories- it is entirely possible to get three of the endings without even knowing she exists.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Ryotaro's story gives reasoning to the sudden strictness of Mishiro's mother.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mishiro to some degree. Some of her dialogue choices give you the option to be a verbal Jerkass to the people she interacts with. For example:
    Yuzu: But the weird thing is, while I remember having died with some strong wish...I can't actually remember that wish. You have any ideas Mishiro?
    Mishiro: > I remember my wish.
    > Sucks to be you.
    • And later, we have this gem:
    Yuzu: Y-You saw (my memories) too, huh, Mishiro? I'm embarrassed...
    Mishiro: > It's a free country.
    > I don't care.
    • With regards to Ryotaro's...fondness for young children from his memories in his mirror:
    Ryotaro: S-Suppose I don't need to ask if you saw that too...?
    Mishiro: > You like little kids?
    > Stay away, creep.
  • Dead to Begin With: The story begins with Mishiro committing suicide, and follows her through her journey in the Mirror World.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Big Bad who trapped Mishiro in the Mirror World is Utsuro, the Love Interest of Yuzu who appears in her optional memories- it is entirely possible to get three of the endings without even knowing she exists.
  • Driven by Envy: Yuzu warns Mishiro that the restless spirits of the Mirror World may attack her since she still has a chance of seeing her wish granted. In addition, she usurped their "ruler" Utsuro, and they want to retake the "throne" for their original leader.
  • Driven to Madness: Utsuro, after being abused her whole life and killed by her mother, goes insane and becomes a vengeful shadow. This can happen to Mishiro as well, if she gets ending 5.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mishiro, in the backstory, threw herself into the Mirror Lake to escape her abusive mom. Though it turns out she survived. Yuzu, however, did not survive throwing herself into the lake to reunite with Utsuro in the afterlife, and Tamaki crashed her car into Ayato in a Murder-Suicide.
  • Everyone Is Related: Happens a lot in this game. Mishiro's friend Ayato is the younger brother of Utsuro, who formerly controlled the Mirror Realm and shares the same wish with Mishiro. In addition, she is the love interest of Yuzu, who committed suicide in Mirror Lake specifically to see her again and an estranged relative of Mishiro's, being the child of Mishiro's grandfather and his illegitimate daughter. Ryotaro is the brother of Mishiro's mother and the employee of her father, and when he passed, his soul imprinted on her and followed her into the Mirror World, and Mishiro's father is the half-brother of Tamaki, the mother of Utsuro and Ayato.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Only for Mishiro, as she has usurped control of the realm from the previous ruler.
  • Foreshadowing: When Ryotaro first appears, he immediately goes up to Mishiro as if feeling some sort of pull to her. She is his niece whom he sought to cheer up after hearing about his sister's treatment of her. His spirit imprinted on Mishiro before her death, and followed her into the Mirror World.
    • The Realm of Blood's tagline is, "Bathe in it if you wish, and go mad." This is exactly what happens if Mishiro chooses to stay in the mirror and stab the three bullies to death.
    • The talk with Rinzou hints that Mishiro isn't dead yet.
    Rinzou (talking to Mishiro and Ryoutarou): Go now, dead one and soul.
  • Gang of Bullies: Mishiro had to deal with these at her middle school; they forced her to do their homework for them and pay them money for any answers she got wrong.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Most Dead Ends use a Smash to Black rather than showing what actually happens to Mishiro. Her deaths inside the mirrors instead cut to red cracks spreading across a black screen before shattering.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Utsuro's Abusive Parents are the reason Utsuro became the Big Bad. Rinzou, who raped his own daughter, resulting in Utsuro's birth; and Tamaki, said daughter who's horrific actions resulted in her daughter becoming the vengeful spirit she is in-game.
  • Happy Rain: If Mishiro chooses to avoid granting her wish and be transported back to her body, the area around her starts raining to signify her newfound joy and determination to lead a better life.
  • Heel–Face Turn: By the end, both Utsuro and her parents regret their misdeeds and are ready to move on from the pain they've caused.
  • Hub Level: The World's Center holds doorways leading to the various Realms that Mishiro must explore.
  • Identity Amnesia: Everyone who arrives in the Mirror World forgets their identity at first.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: How Rinzou viewed his son, since Shinji didn't follow him into the family business. Rinzou also listed Tamaki, his illegitimate daughter, as his inheritor to try and atone for raping and impregnating her, which ultimately ruined her life.
  • Jump Scare: A few spread throughout, as well as some The Witch's House style deaths.
  • Justified Save Point: The save points take the form of small blue flames. This is the Mirror World itself monitoring Mishiro's actions.
  • Lost in Translation: The game's Meaningful Name title relies on the kanji to work.
  • Mad Artist: One blocks the way in the Realm of Beauty, demanding paint for passage. It is hinted to be Rinzou, who loved his illegitimate daughter Tamaki so much that he impregnated her.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The main portion of gameplay — Mishiro must find many different, often gruesome ways of killing herself in order to shatter the mirrors, and there are a number of instant death traps.
  • Meaningful Name: Only in the original Japanese. The title is "kohaku no yume" 虚白の夢, which uses a non-standard word to mean "blank", this word is made up of characters 虚 and白, which are the names of two of the characters, Utsuro (虚) and Mishiro (深白), giving the title a double meaning of both "blank dream" and "Utsuro and Mishiro's dream".
    • The Realm of Blood. Not in the level itself - it's perfectly safe and actually quite lovely. The blood aspect comes into play in the mirror memory; if Mishiro stays inside and continues to assault the bullies, she becomes covered in blood.
  • Mirror Scare: When Mishiro examines the first mirror, it doesn't show her anything at all... until she turns and starts walking away.
  • Multiple Endings: As par the course for RPG Maker games. This game has five:
    • Blank Dream: Mishiro opens the door before talking to Yuzu or Ryotaro. They both tell her that they have information for her, but before they can explain it, the spirit who's been attacking Mishiro approaches. The three run into the door and find some hidden places where both Yuzu and Ryotaro relay their stories (see the next two endings for more details). After all the background is made clear, the three enter another large door and find Ayato, as well as Mishiro's spirit. The red-eyed spirit enters as Mishiro's spirit explains the background of the Mirror World, and that it was formed by the red-eyed spirit, Ayato's sister Utsuro. It goes on to say that, to achieve her wish, Mishiro must kill Ayato. Mishiro instead chooses to help Utsuro regain her memory with the knowledge from Ayato and Yuzu. This restores Utsuro, who concedes her power to Mishiro. Mishiro chooses not to fulfill her wish, and because her body had been saved by a passerby, she is able to return to life. She gets the scene with Ayato's father from ending two, and the scene with her mother from ending three. At the very end, she visits Ayato's atelier, and sees a message from Ayato and a painting of both her and Utsuro, smiling. The Stinger reveals she later became a successful painter.
    • Mobius Strip: Mishiro listens to Yuzu's tale after she fully regains her memories. She begins to tell her the story of her past, but the ghost that's been haunting Mishiro attacks her, only to accidentally injure Yuzu. She carries on anyway, stating that she killed herself specifically to meet that spirit, who was the girl she was in love with, Utsuro. After accomplishing her goal, she vanishes. Follows the same route as Ending One and Ending Three until Mishiro returns to consciousness. When Mishiro awakes, she has amnesia and does not remember her mother, causing her to be distraught and abandon Mishiro. Mishiro then goes to live with Ayato's father, Seiichi, who teaches her to paint.
    • Small Happiness: Mishiro listens to Ryotaro's tale after he fully regains his memories. He tells her that he is her uncle, who died some time before her in an accident. Because he had been seeking to help her, his spirit attached to her and followed her into the Mirror World. He explains the situation of her parents to Mishiro, emphasizing their guilt for hurting her, and, having accomplished his goal, he vanishes. Mishiro and Yuzu enter the room to find Ayato and the spirit. Just as in Endings One and Two, she chooses life. She is returned to consciousness with many memories of her previous life missing - however, because of Ryotaro's explanation of her family, she has a vague memory of her mother and feels comfortable continuing on with her.
    • Fulfilled: Mishiro enters the room in the main hall without talking to Ryotaro or Yuzu and without having helped them find their mirrors. She is greeted by Ayato and the spirit, who tells her that the only way she can grant her wish is to kill Ayato. She does it without hesitation, and is granted The Nothing After Death as a result.
    • Mistakes Repeated: In the mirror where Mishiro lashes out at the bully and cuts her hand, she decides to stay longer within the memory. This causes her to completely lose her grip on sanity and murder all three of the girls, losing herself to the Mirror World forever.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Realm of Blood. Subverted - this stage is the only one in which you are perfectly safe and never get attacked.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Some rooms are completely quiet and dark, making the player feel uneasy.
    • "~ Realm of Blood ~ Bathe in it if you wish, and go mad." There isn't actually anything in it that will kill you. It's got a very nice Baroque-inspired interior and has a linear path to the mirror. However, this trope makes it one of the scariest rooms, because the other ones had Everything Trying to Kill You in full effect, so you expect death at every other turn. The very friendly sounding signs don't help either.
    Don't worry about the way back.
  • Offing the Offspring: Twice - one intentional, and one accidental - with Tamaki. First, she killed her own daughter, who had been born of incest. Then, she tried to run over the the protagonist, Mishiro, with the intention of killing her - but ended up running over and killing her own "pure" (because he was not born of incest) son Ayato instead.
  • One-Gender School: Mishiro attended a strict girls-only school.
  • Parental Abandonment: After discovering that her daughter doesn't remember her, Mishiro's mother, Chika, ditches her in ending 2, Mobius Strip.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Rinzou left all of his money to Tamaki, the daughter of his mistress, instead of the son of his wife.
  • Precision F-Strike: Mishiro curses aloud right before slashing out at one of her bullies.
  • Protagonist Title: The Japanese title is both this and an Antagonist Title. It consists of two kanji- one of them is Utsuro, the Big Bad's name, but the other is Mishiro, the Player Character's name.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: The Mirror Realm serves as this for Rinzou and Tamaki.
  • The Seven Mysteries: The Realm of Spirit holds seven mysteries. In order to progress, Mishiro must personally witness six of them in order to reach the seventh, where the mirror is locked away.
  • Shmuck Bait: The game is particularly good with these. Chandelier dangling above puddles of blood? Obvious deathtrap. Bathroom stall a creepy ghost girl entered? Instant death if you check it and enter it. Door with blood flowing under it? You walk into the jaws of an Eldritch Abomination. See a gold bar lying around for grabs? The "Be not greedy" warning is there for a reason. Let yourself give in to the urge to stab the bullies in a memory world? You entered that world through a mirror in a bloodied wall and specifically had a bad feeling about that one mirror before entering. That sometimes you have to brave the bait to progress in the game keeps the player on edge constantly.
  • Spiritual Successor: To The Witch's House and Ib. There are a great deal of references to art and painting, and Blank Dream even shares some songs with both games. Justified in that these are mainly standard RPG Maker songs.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Mishiro's suicide, to be exact; the story begins with her throwing herself into the Mirror Lake, and her soul goes on from there.
  • The Stinger: At the end of the Blank Dream ending, it's revealed that Mishiro becomes a painter as well.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Averted with Ayato and Utsuro. They look almost nothing alike, to the point that one might guess that Yuzu was Ayato's sister before discovering that it was really Utsuro.
  • Title Drop: "Blank Dream." It's the name of Ayato's painting of Mishiro and Utsuro. Also in the text epilogue as well where Mishiro's next art piece is also named this.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Realm of Death is the last true level in the game, containing the last puzzles and such. The Realm of Blood is a small level that is impossible to die in, and the actual final level is a Boss-Only Level.
  • Wham Line: Several, near the endings.
    Rinzou: When Tamaki, who Rinzou adored as a daughter and a student, turned 18... Rinzou made the biggest mistake of this life. He adored his daughter Tamaki so, he had a child with her.
    Tamaki: But when Tamaki turned 18, Rinzou made an unforgivable mistake. He had a liaison with Tamaki, his own daughter, and impregnated her... And one day, Tamaki killed her daughter.
    • This line from Yuzu, when she realizes and reveals who the Big Bad is:
    Yuzu: Isn't that right, Utsuro?